5 Ways to Tell Your Brand’s Stories on Social Media

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The following is a guest post by Al Gomez. Al is a digital marketing consultant. He is the President of Dlinkers, and he specializes in SEO, PPC, & web development since 2008. Al has over 10 years’ client digital marketing experience and has helped businesses such as Dr. Berg, Patexia, Panel Wall Art, the Ritz Carlton, and countless others use the web to drive online visibility and generate leads.

Storytelling on social media is all the rage nowadays…

As consumers and target audiences trust sales pitches and product descriptions less and less, there is a greater need for brands to up the ante when it comes to engagement. Technology has evolved so much that interacting with brands have never been easier. But horrible experiences also abound. (Need I mention what they are?)

There is a solution to this kind of predicament, and it comes in the form of storytelling.

Storytelling and Human Nature

We’ll discuss storytelling and psychology in just a minute…

But first, and foremost, let me ask this question.

As a child, how fond of storytelling were you? In any shape, method, or form, any child would have been fascinated with the stories that they heard (or read; or seen). And even as an adult, that love for hearing stories hasn’t diminished. Although it’s morphed into a different form, the affinity that we have for hearing an introduction, a climax, and a resolution hasn’t changed at all.

Now, let’s step back from the modern era for a bit…

Imagine how people of the old days lived their lives. Without technology, how did people entertain themselves?

They played games, listened to music, and yes, they told stories. Lots of them.

In the words of Psychology Today's Pamela B. Rutledge Ph.D., M.B.A., "Our brains still respond to content by looking for the story to make sense out of the experience. No matter what the technology, the meaning starts in the brain."

Why, you might ask? Simply put, stories are the perfect example of authentic human experiences.

Stories are so powerful because:

  • It is a form of communication. It's very primitive, and yet, it has transcended the generations.

  • Stories represent a larger self and universal truths.

  • They are all about connection and collaboration.

  • Stories are how people think. It's how we make sense of life, isn't it?

  • It's how, we, as humans are wired.

  • ●       They trigger our imagination by engaging the right brain.

Is it such a big wonder why a lot of brands take to storytelling on social media?

Storytelling Formats on Social Media

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Thanks to technology evolving above more than what we had hoped for, brands and marketers no longer have an excuse to create stories that are bland and unappealing…

There are so many methods to tell stories nowadays, that it’s just up to us to delve deeper and come up with creative methods to indulge our viewers and audiences in our storytelling.

Besides technology (ranging from smartphones to virtual reality headsets), the number of platforms to share these stories have also increased in number (from print to stories on search engines to ones on social media networks).

Telling your brand’s stories on social media can be done through:

  • Videos: It’s how people prefer to consume content nowadays.

  • Images: A nod to visual content once again.

  • Posts: Something motivational or inspirational. Even captions do excellent work and pack a punch when combined with visual content.

  • Podcasts: Audio appeal, and a good way for people to entertain themselves while doing other things.

How to Tell Your Brand’s Stories on Social Media

The formats and the method of distributing your compelling stories matter, of course. But none are as important as the message you wish to convey to your target audience. What do you want your target audience to know? How do you want them to feel? What do you want them to do afterwards?

To evoke certain responses from your chosen audience, here are five methods to tell your brand’s stories on social media.

#1 Show real people

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In today's mode of storytelling, it's best to show real people working behind the company -- not just the brand logo or the company name (though that’s important too). From the first to the last link of the business.

Showing what goes on behind-the-scenes is no longer breakthrough news -- by any means. But showing what happens within the company walls, and how products are made -- or how services operate conveys more than authenticity. It fosters transparency and honesty.

Do you know how you can make it even better?

You can spice up your storytelling by letting members of team tell a story from their point-of-view. That's how you show different perspectives, and display your brand in a bright light, at the same time.

With full discretion, don't hesitate to show the big life-changing events happening in your company. From something as simple as an office renovation to events as grand as a product launch.

Tell your audience all about it!

#2 Uncover Your Origins

Another classic method of doing your storytelling -- or a good material you should use, is your company's complete background information. History isn't always the most interesting to a lot of people. But in this case, it's safe to say that it's an exception.

It's especially beneficial if your brand has been around a while, and it's been gradually gaining a lot of engagement. That's a perfect time to share company history with an audience who's interested in learning the company's beginnings.

Company histories are authenticity and encouragement rolled into one. It's you telling your audience that reaching your dreams is perfectly possible.

It's the business version of a Disney fairytale…

#3 Encourage User-generated Content

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Do you know what's more valuable and engaging than your own stories? Your audiences'.

User-generated content comes in three different forms:

  • Customer feedback: That's the most common type of user-generated content. It fosters engagement as your customers ask questions and get answers in return -- either from you or your other clients.

  • Reviews and ratings: These are more straightforward. And they come in either positive or negative. Numerous studies show that peer reviews go a very long way to up your business' credibility.

  • Pictures and screenshots: Pictures for B2C; screenshots for B2B. Image-proof goes a long way and is as powerful as the first two UGCs mentioned. It complements the other two, and adds another level of trust and transparency to the brand.

Encouraging and magnifying user-generated content tells a story all its own. And the best part? It's a story from your customers or clients that tells others how they feel about your business and your product; how they see it, and how they interpret the message that your business advocates.

#4 Highlight Your Corporate Social Responsibility or Advocacy

There's a thin line between tooting your own horn to look good, and sharing company resources with others while genuinely caring for the people and living things who need special assistance. When you're involved in doing social responsibilities, tell your audience about it.

Only do it, however, if you truly do care about a particular cause. Don't do it for the wrong reasons...

However, showing your target audience and the world that you have a stand on a particular issue shows everyone that you have values and advocacy that you uphold. Consequently, it’s a message that reflects in the products that you sell as well.

#5 Get Meme-ing

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There's an underdog among social media marketing methods. I won't ask people to hazard a guess, because I'll come right out and say it anyway...

Ladies and gents, we are living in an age of memes -- the most popular form of expression online and an integral part of pop culture. We'd be fools to ignore this marketing tactic any longer.

There's no long list of reasons for companies to start using memes. In fact, there's probably only two that will sum it up completely.

First, and foremost, memes fit seamlessly into social media platforms so well. They spread like a wildfire -- as a result. Second, humans these days are characterized with short attention spans. A meme's upfront nature makes it the perfect medium for quick consumption.

Memes are like inside jokes everybody wants to be in on. Why is it so popular among brands? The answer is simple; because they drive traffic and engage the target audiences simultaneously.

Make references to popular culture (The Avengers, ridiculous social issues, Star Wars, Game of Thrones, music stars, etc.) tastefully and tactfully, and you'll be surprised at how much people like it -- as long as its really funny and it's something everybody relates to, of course...

There's also inside memes. Jokes that revolve around your niche are a good way to catch your audience's attention.

Just Take It from Influencers

And when you go back to the root of it all, just take the time to learn from the experts of social media influencing and the basics of marketing…

A lot of mega influencers know how to play their marketing games, and how to engage the audience so flawlessly.

  • By 2019, there will approximately be 2.77 billion social media users worldwide.

  • 84% of consumers make purchases after reading about it (Scrunch).

  • 83% of consumers trust peer recommendations over branded advertising (Nielsen).

They’re not exactly influencers for nothing!

What kind of story do they tell, you ask?

They tell stories of their lives with every social media post. With every life update… In every vlog they do, they tell stories. In some cases, they even stir up drama. And what does the internet do? It consumes it and everybody participates.

I’m not saying you should start a brand scandal or drag an opposing brand to start drama to generate engagement and attention.

The main point I want to drive home is the importance of storytelling…

In Conclusion

Telling your brand's stories on social media is commonplace, and it's everywhere! Storytelling is that kind of entertainment format that hasn't diminished in quality (only increased). Moreover, it's transcended time, and will continued to do so in the generations to come.

A lot of brands nowadays understand that a lot, and everyone is called to constantly adapt. So what's the key?

For 2019 and beyond, storytelling on social networks is the thing. And doing it effectively comes with audience research, creativity, and clever strategizing.

The Quick and Easy Way to Get More Social Media Followers

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Buy them.

If all you care about is followers, they are not hard to get. There are companies that exist to get your follower numbers up. You can contract with them for hundreds and thousands and millions of new followers.

In addition, if all you care about is followers, you can pay to find them. You can promote posts on Facebook and Instagram that say “follow us”. You can spend as much money as you can find to show your ads to more people and send those people to your Facebook page.

If all you care about is followers, you can promise people who follow you all kinds of things. You can give them free stuff, and send them on luxurious vacations.

If all you care about is followers, there are plenty of quick and easy ways to get them.

But if all you care about is followers, you are doing something wrong. Because successful marketers and business owners care about more than followers. They care about outcomes. And the only reason they care about followers is because there is a strategy to turn those followers into customers, and customers into advocates.

And if you care about outcomes, like you should, there is no quick and easy way to get more social media followers.

That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go after them. If success on social media was easy, everyone would do it.

The companies that succeed in gaining traction and engaging with people on social media are the ones that take the time to think through their strategy. They know who they are looking for, and how to find them. And they have taken the time to develop resources, content, information, etc. that is valuable to those people.

When you give your prospective customers something that they want or something that they need, you are earning followers. And you are earning followers that will support you – by buying your stuff, or telling their friends.

Turning social media into an effective marketing channel isn’t easy. And so if part of your job is doing just that, be prepared to put in the time and the energy required to do it right. Or just buy a bunch of followers and wait to get fired.

The Top 8 Hottest Social Media Marketing Trends in 2017 (Infographic)

By now, social media has become a commonplace for many marketers today. From biggest brands to start-up ventures, most businesses today cannot deny the fact that social media marketing is one of the most indispensable tools critical to reaching a wider audience and communicate a message to its target market more effectively and efficiently.

What sets apart this tactic is that unlike traditional methods like radio, television, and print, social media enables the business to have a two-way communication with its followers. With real-time engagement at hand, a business can effectively promote its brand while at the same time providing satisfying online experience to their audience.

Moreover, with billions of active users worldwide, leveraging social media is critical in building a stronger brand image, which is almost impossible for most small businesses way back then. Social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn has become a platform where small players can compete on the same playing field as the bigger brands. From stronger brand image and wider audience reach, any business who choose to use social media marketing definitely gets better customer retention and bottom line.

To know the latest trends that are bound to shape the social media marketing this 2017 and beyond, check the infographic below from CJG Digital Marketing.

The Convergence of Search and Social

Search and social media are two separates arenas when we typically talk about digital marketing.

Search was, for a long time, the representation of all that digital marketing could be. It quickly came to dominate the new landscape. For the first time, it allowed brands to take advantage in real time of identifiable consumer demand. Google and their AdWords platform came to own that world, giving companies an efficient way to seize the marketing opportunities presented by search.

Then came social. If you believed the early hype, social media meant the death of things like email, and even search. But the truth is, brands are still trying to figure out how social media fits into their marketing plans.

But until now, most companies treated search and social as separate things. This post is meant to put that way of thinking to rest. If your company is not already busy identifying how these two channels relate to one another, the time to start is now.

Consumer Behavior

It used to be that most web sessions began with a search engine. Not anymore. Social media has been quickly gaining in that area, helped by the continued shift to mobile as our primary web consumption platform.

Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter are now where many users start their web sessions, using the networks to make discoveries the same way they might have with a Google search in the past.

While these “searches” differ in a number of ways from Google searches, they are no less important for marketers. Recognize that consumers are looking for the same things, but in slightly different ways.

Which Platforms?

Not all social media channels are created equal. Someone on Facebook is looking for a different experience than someone on Pinterest. Marketers must be able to dissect the “user intent” of each platform in order to understand best how to use them.

For example, on Pinterest, many users are expressing real intent to purchase based on the brands they follow, the products they pin, etc. Whereas following a brand on Facebook may better signal past behavior, such as attending an event, entering a store, or being an existing customer.

When we learn how people search and identify items of interest on each platform, we can begin to address user needs when and where they occur.

One Informs the Other

While the tools and techniques for marketers still differ between search and social, one must inform the other. Search and social teams should work together to identify and track trends and react, adjusting campaigns and programs in real time.

 

The way we search and interact with the mobile web will continue to change. And only these kinds of responsive, close-knit teams will be able to adapt and keep up.